Those in the field of Educational Development embrace open community. As a core value of the Educational Developers’ Caucus (EDC), Educational Developers (EDs) seem to naturally gravitate towards valuing diverse perspectives and championing a community approach marked by collegiality and sharing.
I suspect this is likely why EDs have been ready collaborators in the Open movement, particularly when it comes to others’ teaching activities –
In practice: Promoting the creation, adoption, and adaption of open educational resources (OER); Advocating for teaching that adopts open pedagogy and open educational practices (OEP);
and in belief: Recommending disparate academic units connect to share lessons learned, share curricular exemplars, or share developed academic resources that have been tried-and-tested.
Yet, as a group, I might peg ourselves in the early majority phase of embracing open practices within the educational development community itself. While we speak of Open Education as a pedagogical approach that instructors could consider themselves, many Centres are also starting to dabble in the possibilities of sharing our own work across an open community of EDs. Yes, there have been leaders – the innovators, the early adopters – who have demonstrated the potential of sharing ED resources openly. For example, CU Open‘s Open Educational Resources repository developed by the Educational Development Centre at Carleton University. Or the Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Modules developed collaboratively by Western University, University of Waterloo, and Queen’s University in 2014 with OOI funding (now eCampusOntario).
Yet increasingly, resources and materials developed by Centres of Teaching and Learning are being intentionally licensed with Creative Commons licences that clearly demarcate the content as openly available for others to adopt and adapt. These resources, by all intents and purposes, are open educational resources – “teaching, learning, and research resources that, through permissions granted by their creator, allow others to use, distribute, keep, or make changes to them” (Self-Publishing Guide, BCcampus).
But entertain me for a moment while I ‘dance on the top of a pinhead’:
What we develop as EDs stands as a unique subset of educational resources, focused specifically on teaching development and often intended in the facilitation of ED activities that champion the teaching and learning missions of our respective institutions.
In this sense, Open Educational Development Resources (or OEDR) are a subset of OER and are defined as: a variety of materials and resources, developed for the purpose of engaging institutions, academic leaders, and instructors in the advancement of teaching and learning, and licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities: retain, revise, remix, reuse and redistribute (the latter half of the definition is an adaptation of Defining the “Open” in Open Content and Open Educational Resources, which was originally written by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.).
Just as there is a difference between writing a textbook for first year Biology and a consulting with a Biology instructor on instructional strategies for engaging their first-year students in course readings, there is a difference between OERs intended for teaching adoption in support of student learning and OEDRs intended to support the facilitation of teaching advancement and professional growth.
Why distinguish OEDR as a distinct subset of OER?
By making this distinction and giving it a name, EDs might further differentiate between their advocacy of others’ engagement from their own engagement in open practices as educational developers.
Adapting Cronin’s (2017) definition of OEP for ED specifically:
As open practitioners, EDs commit to collaborative educational development practices that include the creation, use, and reuse of OEDR, as well as educational development practices employing participatory technologies and social networks for interaction, peer-learning, knowledge creation, and empowerment of participant-learners.
I’ve heard the sentiment from fellow EDs: We’re happy to share our work. We want to share it more often. Our community already does it informally, but there’s greater potential. What if we all stopped creating the same/similar solutions over and over in our individual bubbles and started collaborating more strategically on the basis of open sharing.
I’ve been in enough of these conversations now that I’m ready to take action.
A Starting Point
A common challenge of OE is the effective curation of OER, such that those wishing to adopt/adapt a work created by others is: a) readily located and, b) efficiently and effectively evaluated for relevancy and quality.
I have watched as our ED community willingly speaks ad hoc of all the wonderful OEDR available while acknowledging in nearly the same breath that we ought to share more or connect more frequently or stop creating the same/similar solutions over and over without tapping into the expertise we all share. It is time we
- tackle the challenge of identifying and curating OEDR across our network.
- discuss as a community how we can intentionally embrace OEP as an open community of practitioners
To the first point, I’ve started a curation project of my own (however small and possibly patchy the idea is), by creating a Trello board where I’ve begun to add the OEDR known to me. I invite you to check it out and hopefully contribute:
To the second, I’m optimistic that there’s a way forward together. I know there are ED open advocates out there doing incredible work and graciously sharing it in hopes that their ED community will benefit. I hope together we can not only continue to make that happen but expand the realm of possibility further.
Connect with me on Twitter @ansteypants
Email me at: l[dot]anstey[at]queensu[dot]ca
Aesoph, L.M. (2018). Self-Publishing Guide. Victoria, BC: BCcampus. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/selfpublishguide/
Cronin, C. (2017). Openness and Praxis: Exploring the Use of Open Educational Practices in Higher Education. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18 (5), 15–34. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v18i5.3096
Educational Development Caucus (2016). Mission, values, and living plan. Retrieved from https://edc.stlhe.ca/your-edc/vision-values-living-plan/
Wiley, D. (n.d.) Defining the “Open” in Open Content and Open Educational Resources Retrieved from http://opencontent.org/definition/